A last gasp winner from Robbie Burns saw Hitchin Town clinch the points in a dour end-of-season match at Top Field. The striker converted a diving effort by Canary skipper Dan Webb with the game deep in stoppage time.
After Wednesday’s league cup exertions, the starting eleven saw several changes with Daniel Olaniran, Kevin Byrne, Hugo Logan, Brett Donnelly, Patrick Tshikala and Jonny McNamara all featuring.
However, until the late goal, the game had looked destined to end goalless with Stortford striker Jamie Cureton most likely to break the deadlock. The veteran chipped just wide in the fifth minute and brought a good save from Michael Johnson later in the first period, while Joe Robinson headed wide from a corner.
It was a game where defences were in charge and all of the Hitchin back four made telling interventions. Hitchin struggled for fluency going forward but Jonny McNamara at least forced Callum Kitscua into action with a low save. The same player then got round the back of Clifford but could not get a good angle on his shot and sent the ball wide.
The second half saw Byrne cut out a dangerous pass from Cureton after the striker had pounced on a Webb stumble, while Mark Hughes headed wide for Stortford.
The half chances started to flow in the final twenty minutes. Webb forced a flying save from Kitscua from a corner while Cureton had three good chances in less than five minutes. His first snapshot flew wide, a swerving shot then hurried Johnson into a save, and finally he had a very good chance after beating the Canaries’ defence only to shoot wide when through on goal.
For Hitchin, Webb met another Hugo Logan corner only for his powerful header to bounce down and over the bar, while the Canaries had a goal disallowed for a foul on Kitscua.
Burns’ late decider though meant a “clean sweep” for Hitchin who played and beat the Blues five times in all league and cup competitions this season.
Hitchin Town – Johnson, Syme, Olaniran, Bickerstaff, Webb, Byrne, Tshikala, Logan, Donnelly, Burns, McNamara; subs – Vincent, Green (for Tshikala), Smith, Spring, Da SIlva
Bishops Stortford – Kitscua, Casey, Clifford, Hughes, Robinson, Brassington, Westcott, Thomas, Mason, Cureton, Foxley; subs – Cruse, Crowther, Riley, Lynskey
Hitchin Town – Burns (90+2)
Bishops Stortford – Hughes, Robinson
Sponsor’s MOTM – Dan Webb
Attendance – 431